How Hong Kong can build decent housing and deepen national identity
In the provision of decent and affordable housing, Hong Kong was ahead of Singapore in the 1970s, with the launch of the Home Ownership Scheme. But Singapore very soon came from behind and overtook our city (“Why Hong Kong is no Singapore when it comes to housing and will struggle to catch up”, July 28). The question is: can Hong Kong overtake Singapore in the long run, like in the parable of the hare and the tortoise?
The debate on land supply once again shows how deep the problem is: we have so many stakeholders, the Heung Yee Kuk, property developers, indigenous residents, newcomers from the mainland, and of course the rest of the population who lack decent housing.
While we have to honour the “small-house policy” for indigenous male villagers in the New Territories, we must also maintain the daily quota of 150 arrivals from the mainland, as well as look after the interests of different sectors of society. This does seem like a tall order.
Will the 18 options in the public consultation launched by the Task Force on Land Supply be able to find workable solutions? We should be fair, transparent and, above all, we should not go against our capitalist, free-market system.
I believe our chief executive should approach the central government to get military land to build public housing. Reclaimed land can’t be used immediately, therefore reclamation is not a short-term solution. In fact, the British colonial government also used military land in Sham Shui Po to build public housing.
Part of the military land in Stanley and Kowloon could be sold by auction and the government could use the money to build “Oi Kong Estate” or “Love Hong Kong Estate”. That would show Hong Kong youth that the central government is helping them, and inspire love for the motherland.
Housing is always a stabilising factor for society. Once our young people are provided with decent and affordable housing, why would they take to the streets to fight for social justice or join the so-called “Hong Kong independence” movements?
Lo Wai Kong, Yau Ma Tei